The studies of sociology at the University of Zurich at that time were very much focused on research experiences, “hands on,” and “learning by doing.” This approach was certainly challenging, particularly in the first years, as the largely “spoon-feeding” learning style experienced at the Gymnasium had not exactly prepared me for this type of study. It felt like jumping into cold water, struggling, and trying to survive. However, I also learned an important lesson for my future professional life: Research is a tough business and requires perseverance, stamina, and a long breath. Professor Peter Heintz, the founder of the Department of Sociology at the University of Zurich and the Department’s chair at the time, had the fabulous ability of inspiring one’s genuinely sociological thinking. Devoting his lifetime to the development of a theory

of world society, Peter Heintz managed to instill in his students a conception of the social world composed of multiple layers of stratified social levels, encompassing each other, interacting with each other, generating social tensions, and thus eventually change. This rather complex approach of thinking about the make-up of the social world-for sociology students in their early years rather perplexing at times-sharpened our intellect for what would later be framed as the social embeddedness (or contextualization) of agency. Although the research topics I was engaged in during my studies were light years away from the later-to-be-developed life-time research interests, the ways in which we were trained to think about society and its functioning provided us with indispensable conceptual tools for tackling research questions in novel sociological areas.